Rally Mexico is the furthest away from home that the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team has travelled so far, and also the toughest challenge they face yet. Before the first of 19 special stages in Mexico City tomorrow, both cars completed the 5.31-kilometre shakedown test close to the rally base in León today. After their first taste of the high temperatures and rough rocks that will characterise the rally for the next four days, the drivers and cars are now ready for the mammoth task that lies ahead.
The shakedown was a final opportunity to check each car’s systems before the rally start, with the drivers pushing hard to validate the set-up and tune the engine to the thin air of Mexico. Jari-Matti Latvala set the fourth-fastest time while Juho Hänninen was tenth but very close in terms of time, with all the competitors looking evenly matched so far.
Tom Fowler (Chief Engineer)
“For this shakedown we were able to run the full performance, unlike the other rallies when we had to save tyres. The main target was to finalise the mapping for the engine, so we had engineers tuning the engine for each run and we made some improvements through the runs. We’re very happy with the times for both drivers. We achieved everything we were looking for: there were no technical issues so we were able to spend the time concentrating on performance, which was encouraging.”
Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 10)
”In the first run on the shakedown I didn’t feel completely happy but we changed some of the engine mappings and adjusted some clicks on the dampers, which we were expecting to do. On the second run it felt a lot better and by the third run I was really happy. So now I’m feeling confident but it’s going to be a tough rally with the heat: more like an endurance test than a sprint.”
Juho Hänninen (Driver car 11)
”The general feeling is good and we had no issues with the car during shakedown; we were just working with the engine maps a bit. Now I think we have found the right solution. Mexico is a long rally with really demanding stages so Sunday feels like quite a long distance away at the moment! I’m looking forward to our visit to Mexico City tomorrow, which will be a lot of fun: the Mexican fans are great so we’re expecting a lot of enthusiastic spectators.”
“RALLY MEXICO: SHAKEDOWN – TOYOTA DRIVERS READY FOR THE START OF THEIR TOUGHEST RALLY YET.”
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing. N.p., 8 March. 2017. Web. 26 Mar. 2017. <http://toyotagazooracing.com/>.